Germany added 2.3 GW of new onshore wind capacity in the first half of 2017. Though it failed to meet the target last year, the Renewable Energy Act set annual target of installing 2.5 GW new solar capacity. Add in a warm autumn and the winter storms Xavier and Herwart, and it is easy to see how renewables supplied 44.1 per cent of Germany’s energy in October.
The numbers fluctuate. At 10:19 AM Pacific Time, on December 13, wind turbines fed 434 MW into the grid. There have been days when they produced 140% of the nation’s need. Then there is solar energy and biomass. According to the Danish Energy Agency, renewables supply 56% of Denmark’s Domestic electricity consumption.
Germany led the world for the number of solar installations during 2012. This relatively small European nation added 7.60 GW of capacity to the grid. Then their numbers started going downward: 3.30 GW of new solar capacity in 2013; 1.56 GW in 2014; 1.4 GW in 2015. As of October 31, only 0.79 GW of new capacity has been added this year. Germany’s critics are once again hailing the imminent demise of this nation’s renewable revolution. What happened to Energiewende?
Thirty-seven years ago, the United States was poised on the edge of an energy revolution. The interdepartmental plan that Dr. Allan Hoffman presented President Jimmy Carter outlined how the nation could derive 20% of its’ power from renewables (principally wind & solar) by the year 2000. What could have happened, if Carter’s successors had pressed forward, is another of the great “ifs” of history. Hoffman answers another question in his book THE U.S. GOVERNMENT & RENEWABLE ENERGY: how America adopts energy policies.
Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have achieved Germany’s renewable target for 2025. They already obtain 40% of their energy from renewables on an annual basis. A technological breakthrough, the digitization of industry, will be required to go further. This region of 4.5 million people expects to obtain 70% of its energy from renewables by 2025 and 100% by 2035. Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg will be showcasing the fourth industrial revolution.